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Science Day Session 6

Regenerating a Liveable Planet

Facilitator: Lindsay Stringer (supported by Graham von Maltitz)
Invited panelists:

Summary of outcomes: Poonam Dabas  (environmental journalist, India)

The intention of this session:

This discussion session allowed a panel of invited experts to highlight key findings from preceding sessions, and to bring to attention additional findings, comments and questions from the floor. It was intended to be a participatory space that allowed all attendees to feel they had a chance to contribute should they so wish and sought to provide an inspiring end to the day. 

The structure of this session:

The session took a varied approach and began with an overview of what had happened previously. This was necessary because some participants had joined only one or two sessions or were just joining at the start of session 6, and we wanted to avoid repetition of the same issues that had already been discussed earlier on in the day. Panel members spanning a range of different stakeholder groups then gave 3-minute interventions, also taking questions from the audience. We left a vacant seat on the stage to enable audience members to become panellists in a ‘fish bowl’ participatory approach. This made the session much more dynamic and interactive and allowed a range of different interventions that may not otherwise have been captured, as the person making the intervention or asking the question took the empty seat in order to participate. A journalist then summarised the major highlights and the artist who had been painting during the day talked the audience through his paintings and what they represented. 

Three themes emerged from the session: 

  1. Communication is key. We need strong messaging and to better communicate complexity, taking into account that in some countries local languages have no word to describe the problems faced and that the purpose of information provision is to support decisions and actions.
  2. There is a need to inspire and catalyse action, using scientific recommendations and economic information to develop concrete action plans that are then implemented. Achieving improved integration requires joint working (breaking down silos between policies and scientific disciplines), dialogue and the development of reproducible information that also meets the needs of those who will use it. 
  3. There are multiple benefits that can be harnessed from improving the quality of land. Benefits from addressing land restoration and tackling degradation can be good for human health (both physical and mental health) and wellbeing. These benefits are often overlooked. 

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